Glorious Gloria vetoes voter

A floating voter takes a shine to Gloria De Piero.

Dapper Jeremy Browne, the Leslie Phillips of the Foreign Office, isn't letting the Daily Telegraph's undercover sting on the Lib Dems come between him and the paper. Quite the reverse, in fact. The Tory-lite party has asked the Press Complaints Commission to investigate two young female reporters posing as constituents who secretly taped ministers including Vince "I've a Nuclear Weapon in My Pocket" Cable. Browne emerged relatively unscathed, describing David Cameron's European allies as merely "quite nutty". He now wishes to pursue his own inquiries, so he asked a Torygraph bigwig to arrange a lunch with the honeypot hackettes. Ding dong!

Political apartheid in the members' dining room. Parties occupy separate tables but a group of fresh-faced Labour recruits, the London MPs Heidi Alexander and Teresa Pearce among them, gingerly sat outside their comfort zone for an evening with Tessa Jowell when informed that Northern Ireland MPs were away. They should've remembered the peers. Up rolled a ruddy-cheeked Ulsterman who, in best Daddy Bear tradition, demanded to know who was sitting in his seat. Briefly placated, the bashless baron loudly took credit for the Good Friday Agreement. When he asked a black waiter, "Which country are you from?" the MPs had heard enough and moved.

Fresh BBC mumblings over the banker's bonus-sized ambition of the business whizz Robert Ah-Er-Um Peston, who'd like to succeed Nick Robinson as political editor. Replacing Robbo, the one-time Young Tory, with Pesto, who was close to the Talibrown, might, as Sir Humphrey would say, be very brave when the coalition may be in power until 2015. "The BBC has more chance being dismantled," snarled a senior executive, "than Robert Peston becoming political editor." Ooooh . . . We'll see.

Cameron's Chauvinist Tendency has taken a shine to Labour's Lancashire lass Lisa Nandy. In Oldham, however, a floating voter had eyes only for the one-time GMTV pin-up Gloria "Glorious" De Piero. Knocking on a door in the by-election, Nandy was informed by the man of the house he would support Labour if she arranged a personal visit by the politician he admired from afar. "You know the one I want," he drooled, "the good-looking one who was on Question Time." Naughty Nandy texted the request to Glorious, who wisely declined an opportunity to turn a 3,389 majority into 3,390.

To South Shields, where the local Conservative leader, mercurial David "Potty" Potts, quit after calling the town's MP, David Miliband, a "wanker" on Twitter. Potts cited alcohol problems for his resignation. Labour has had a narrow escape. During the Brown era, whispered a snout, defection talks foundered when Potty demanded a safe Westminster seat of his own.

Kevin Maguire is associate editor (politics) of the Daily Mirror

Kevin Maguire is Associate Editor (Politics) on the Daily Mirror and author of our Commons Confidential column on the high politics and low life in Westminster. An award-winning journalist, he is in frequent demand on television and radio and co-authored a book on great parliamentary scandals. He was formerly Chief Reporter on the Guardian and Labour Correspondent on the Daily Telegraph.

This article first appeared in the 24 January 2011 issue of the New Statesman, State of Emergency